This video provides steps for creating a strategic culture
- What is your organization's culture? Would you say it's fast-paced or more laid-back? Is it fun and full of pizzazz or more formal and structured? Is it focused on team efforts or individual accomplishments? Whatever your culture is, your leaders have the ability to craft your culture to suit the organization's goals with your help. Organizational culture is the way members think, act, and understand the world around them. You might say it's "the way it is around here." To make sense of it, let's use the American culture as an example.
I live in America, and I am part of the American culture, so I go to baseball games and I order a hot dog and Cracker Jacks. If I lived in Australia, I'd go to a footy game and I'd order a mince pie. Americans and Australians don't attend these games thinking "I'm American" or "I'm Australian" so I'm going to go to this particular sporting event. They just do it because that's the way it is, and that's how it works in your organization too. With the help of HR, leaders have the opportunity to drive employees to a certain sporting event, so to speak.
The place to start is with your vision, mission, and values. You may have heard the phrase "values-based organization" and that means the organization pushes people to act in ways the values define. So are people living your values? If not, why not? And how can you start pushing people into living them? And if they are, how so? What does it look like? The problem is that many organizations have values on their website because they think they're supposed to, but they don't do anything else with them.
An organization who wants to be strategic incorporates them into everything they do. If one of your values is customer service, then your organization should be offering training, incentive programs for good service, and rewards for coming up with new ideas for improving service. If one of your values is teamwork, then you should be highlighting teams that do extraordinary things and running cool team-building activities. Another way to ensure people are living your values is to tie them to your performance management programs. For example, your values should appear on your annual performance evaluation forms.
You might also consider rewards programs for people who live the values. Perhaps employees can nominate their peers for living the values, or managers can offer special rewards. Beyond performance documents, all of your HR documents should match the culture. The employee handbook in an accountant's firm should read differently than the handbook in a surf shop. Training is another important aspect of driving your culture. You should be providing training about your history and culture to new employees. And you should be offering training programs that help keep people's behavior on track.
The Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego has a cool video on YouTube that shows employees talking about the culture and what it means for them. You can easily do the same. Going back to new employees, having a grasp on your culture means that you can hire in people that fit. So design some of your interview questions around your culture. If your organization is a high-stress kind of environment, then you could ask a behavior-based interview question like, "Tell me about a job you've had "that was a high-stress environment. "What made it high-stress and how did you handle it?" Also consider your work environment.
If your walls are painted bright orange and lined with whiteboards and people work in pods, it will drive innovation and teamwork. If your walls are painted gray and everyone's in a cubicle, it will drive individuality. So design your office in a way that highlights your culture. Talk with your leaders about your culture and create a strategic plan for culture initiatives. Your plan should lay out action items, timelines, resources you will need, and measurements of success. Ask each department to come up with action items related to each value and incorporate their ideas into your strategic plan.
I've included a template plan in the exercise files for this course to help you get started. Designing culture is a lot of work but it's a lot of fun.
- Tying HR to your company's vision and mission
- Strategic planning
- Measuring training program success
- Building engagement
- Creating culture